STG staff spotlight: Gail Baraff
Meet Gail Baraff, Seattle Theatre Group's subscriptions manager! Gail plays a vital role in ensuring the ticketing and patron services department runs smoothly and successfully. In the interview below, learn about Gail's passion for the arts, her experience at STG, and more.
Could you share some insight into the work you do as STG's Subscriptions Manager?
I help manage and support our unique STG Performing Arts Series which is one of the most eclectic, exciting performance series in town. We offer music, dance, comedy and cultural productions from around the world with a dynamic mix of programming. I really enjoy connecting directly with our wonderful subscribers, helping them with all of their ticketing needs, as well as assisting my colleagues in Marketing on the promotional and communications sides.
What spurred your interest for working in the performing arts?
I have been in the nonprofit performing arts sector for many years and it's a perfect fit for me. I love being able to support live performance from the inside of an organization, as I attend as an audience member quite a bit. I find the details of working in ticketing—including being able to create great interactions with our customers—very satisfying. Some of my happiest moments have been spent experiencing the wonderful artists who frequent the Paramount, Neptune, and Moore theatres.
I was thrilled to join STG and be able to have the opportunity to create those moments for others. One of my core beliefs in customer service is that when we're interacting with our patrons and community, we always need to be focused on the long-term relationship. Our performing arts series is a key component in that relationship, and it's very rewarding being able to help audience members become subscribers
What is one of the most rewarding about working for STG?
That's an easy one—the people! From coworkers, to industry partners, to our audience members, I get to interact with many individuals who come from different backgrounds and perspectives. It makes for a very stimulating and enjoyable work environment.
STG's vision is that it strives to be the people's theatre, where all are welcomed and represented. In your opinion, why is this vision important?
It creates genuine community among all of us who live here and the more diversity we can have, the more enriching the experience is for everyone. I'm particularly happy that our performing arts series is one of the outcomes of this vision. I'm going to borrow a recent summary from my colleague Jack McLarnan who does all the programming for our series. He said: "The STG Performing Arts Series is a curatorial capsule of shows with a focus on mission, artistic excellence, diversity and representation, and artists who like to do education and community engagement work as part of their practice. There is a focus on long-term artist relationships and audience-building, which includes commissioning (investing in) new work."
What is something new that you've learned from your ticketing experience at STG thus far?
Something new I've learned thus far is that we are probably the highest volume, and most multi-layered performing arts organization in town. It's been fascinating to learn about all the different departments here that require ticketing services to meet their needs. I'm really enjoying the challenge of developing new skill sets that come with such a large and varied organization. STG is very open to having employees branch out beyond their basic job titles, so I've been lucky so far to contribute to our wonderful Education and Community Engagement department as well as our unique music and arts festival, THING.
As we discussed, one of your areas of focus at STG is the Performing Arts Series. Which show in the series are you most looking forward to?
There are so many fantastic shows in the series, but if I had to choose one, I'd say Las Cafeteras' 'Hasta La Muerte'. It's on the evening of November 5 at the Moore and celebrates the Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos. I love Mexican culture and this is one of my favorite holidays; I've been collecting Day of the Dead artwork for many moons and had an incredible experience celebrating the holiday in-person in Oaxaca one year. Las Cafeteras are excellent musicians and storytellers from East L.A. and I can't wait to see them for the first time!